Could selling naming rights to high school stadiums be a viable option for financially strapped districts? Some superintendents say bring an offer.
Could selling naming rights to high school football stadiums be a viable option for financially strapped school districts?
Officials at some districts say they would be open to negotiations.
Ric Goodright, superintendent of Massillon City Schools, said tradition is important to Massillon fans, and for that reason, “It always needs to be Paul Brown Tiger Stadium at One Paul Brown Drive.”
But, he added, in this era the district would be remiss if it did not consider offers.
“If the Canton Repository wanted to pay us $1 million a year to be the Canton Repository Paul Brown Tiger Stadium, we would gladly accept your money,” he joked, but said Paul Brown’s name will endure.
Canton’s Fawcett Stadium was officially dedicated in 1938 and was named for John A. Fawcett, a former member of the Canton Board of Education and a well-known athlete. Fawcett died of pneumonia when he was 44, a few years before the stadium was built.
After a 1997 renovation, the stadium was renamed to include, “Pro Football Hall of Fame Field.”
Superintendent Adrian Allison said he thinks there were conversations about selling naming rights to the new press box before it was completed in 2009.
“The old one was named after Earl Rehfus, who was the chief custodian for the Fieldhouse and Fawcett for 23 years,” he said. “There were also some discussions about seeking opportunities to name suites in the press box. To date, we have not pursued this with any consistency.”
Allison said that he is unsure if the yield on the naming rights of facilities would outweigh the tradition that is a part of the facilities.
“The names of our facilities not only honor individuals and veterans, but they also tell a story about Canton,” Allison said, but added, “I guess if there were a multiple million-dollar, or multiple hundred-thousand-dollar offer on the table, I would likely be all ears.”
Plain Local Schools Superintendent Brent May concurs with his colleagues.
While GlenOak High School Stadium bears the name of its longtime coach Bob Cummings, and always will, the stadium itself is free to name.
Well, it would not be free.
“We would entertain an offer and that’s where we’re at,” said May.
Here are some namesakes of local high school stadiums:
Fairless: Brideweser Stadium, named for Fred Brideweser, former athletic director and coach.
Central Catholic: Lowell Klinefelter Field, named for its current coach.
Northwest: Smilek Stadium, named for Dr. Martin Smilek, former team doctor and school board member.
Jackson: Robert Fife Stadium, named for its former coach.
Tuslaw: Kurtz Stadium, named for William E. Kurtz, former superintendent.
Page 2 of 2 - Minerva: Hines Stadium, named for Dr. Robert H. Hines, former team doctor.